back to article What the world needs now is socially-distant robots, says Japan

Japan’s Ministry of the Economy and National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have opened a conversation with the International Standards Organisation (ISO) with a view to setting new global standards for robots that work alongside humans. Japan has an ageing population and has therefore made significant …

  1. Aids

    Isn't this the plot to the Bruce Willis film 'Surrogates' ?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      You're thinking of Teleoperation and Telepresence, where a human is in control of a remote - like an existing bomb disposal waldo or military drone. Japan is thinking of standards that would allow autonomous robots to work alongside humans safely in various situations, such as in hospitals, factories, etc

      I didn't downvote you, but hey, it seems there's a film critic here.

    2. Paul Cooper

      Isn't this the plot to the Bruce Willis film 'Surrogates' ?

      Don't know about that - but it's certainly an important part of Asimov's "Naked Sun"!

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

    I was just wondering what the current state of the art of bipedal robots is... I have't heard much for a while, and don't know what the current technological hurdles are. Navigation? Control? Battery power density?

    The following from, this year, is being sold to.connercial customers, but as a dev kit for future applications. It's certainly advanced than Honda's discontinued Asimo. I don't know what Japanese companies have in the pipeline.

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/6/21050322/bipedal-robot-digit-agility-robotics-on-sale-delivery-inspection-ces-2020#comments

    It looks alright, but I don't think it would be too hard to fit some retractable wheels to its feet for when it is on flat, level ground - it sounds like someone has left half a horse walking around the office.

  3. Mike 137 Silver badge

    An alternative explanation?

    "Japan has an ageing population and has therefore made significant investments in robots as assistants for the elderly ..."

    Maybe they're primarily needed because the traditional extended family support has ceased to operate, as it mostly has in the "west".

    The two key things a robot can't offer are compassion and companionship. It can only provide shallow simulacra of both. But both are required by humans for maintenance of emotional health. This has almost universally been forgotten by the "caring" professions, which tend to consider their clients as machines needing servicing - what I refer to generically as "Quick fit Euro medicine" - walk in, have your faults diagnosed and repaired and walk out again without any real human interaction.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: An alternative explanation?

      >Maybe they're primarily needed because the traditional extended family support has ceased to operate, as it mostly has in the "west".

      Or because their decades of falling birthrates (*) means that 70 year olds are left caring for their 90 year old parents.

      * - probably due to all Japanese peoples baby-making parts being replaced by blocks of pixels ?

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